Monday, September 14, 2020

Amber Roseboom
Director of Media Relations
Catholic Diocese of Arlington

5th Annual Mass for Military and First Responders Celebrated by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Fairfax, VA.   

Mass Offered Near the Anniversary of 9/11 to Pray for, Honor and Thank Those Serving on the Front Lines, Protecting Us Both Here and Abroad

ARLINGTON, Va. - On Sunday, September 13, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, celebrated the 5th Annual Mass for Military and First Responders at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Fairfax, Va. The annual Mass takes place in conjunction with the anniversary of the terror attacks of 9/11 and is hosted by the Fr. Walter F. Malloy Assembly #1894 of the Knights of Columbus. It is an opportunity to pray for, honor and thank those serving on the front lines to protect us both here and abroad. Military personnel and first responders were invited to attend in dress uniform with their families. See photo of Bishop Burbidge speaking with first responders following Mass here.

“We ask the Lord to keep safe all our police, firefighters, first responders and those serving in the military. We offer profound gratitude to all of you for your courageous, generous and heroic service, especially during these tense and challenging times,” said Bishop Burbidge. “In the line of duty, all first responders and those in military service see the consequences when people cling to anger and wrath and refuse to forgive one another: It leads to a lack of reverence for human life and the dignity of each and every person… The Book of Sirach tells us: 'Forgive your neighbor's injustice.' Note it does not say condone, accept or ignore the injustice but rather: forgive your neighbor. This is also the lesson of the parable Jesus told in the Gospel: Our Lord and Master, while not condoning our sins, forgives us without end.”

The annual Mass takes place in commemoration of September 11, 2001, a day that defined our nation and a generation. Local first responders in and around New York City, Arlington, Va., and Somerset County, Pa., were the first to run into the burning buildings and smoldering wreckage, risking their lives to save victims as our nation withstood the most devastating attack on its own soil. The days that followed saw men and women bravely step forward to serve the cause of freedom oversees, helping to ensure such an attack would not happen again. Their continued service in our communities and abroad helps protect Americans from ongoing foreign and domestic threats.

“This annual Mass is always a moving time in which we join together to pray for and thank our military personnel and first responders,” said David Todd, Jr., Faithful Navigator, Fr. Walter F. Malloy Assembly. “These brave individuals selflessly run into harm's way to protect us, knowing they may make the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. We were honored to be joined by so many men and women in uniform and their families and remain forever grateful to them for their service.”

This year's Mass was celebrated in conjunction with social distancing guidelines. To allow a larger audience to participate, the Mass was also livestreamed. For more information on the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, visit

Interested media, contact Amber Roseboom, Director of Media Relations, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 571-215-8731 or



The Catholic Diocese of Arlington was established on August 13, 1974, and is home to 71 parishes and more than 460,000 Catholics. There are currently 276 priests serving in the Diocese and 45 seminarians discerning a priestly vocation. The Diocese has 37 parish (K-8) schools, four diocesan high schools, four independent Catholic schools and five free-standing (not connected with a parish school) pre-schools, serving more than 17,000 students. 

The Diocese includes the seven cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester and the 21 counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren and Westmoreland.